The Texas Rangers Finally Get Their Man! Jairo Beras Is
Officially On Board
BY: Dic Humphrey
Jairo Beras is a Dominican outfielder that the Rangers agreed to sign earlier this year for $4.5 million. Immediately other teams cried foul and MLB has spent four and one-half months reviewing the situation, with the question revolving around his true age. Most teams believed that he was 16 and not eligible to sign until this month, making him subject to new rules under the collective bargaining agreement, which effectively would have eliminated the Rangers from signing him. The Rangers researched Beras and discovered that he was a year older than believed, making him eligible to be signed before July of 2012 under the old rules, which the Rangers did.
MLB finally approved the signing this week. The bottom line is that Beras is a Ranger and Beras is wealthier. With the new rules regarding Latin American signings, he would not have commanded $4.5 million. Beras does receive a one-year suspension for lying about his age, as he did represent to teams that he was a year younger than the Rangers ultimately proved him to be. However, he is allowed to work out at the Rangers’ Dominican Academy; he just won’t be allowed to play games with the Rangers’ Dominican Summer League team. The Caribbean players signed this year won’t be playing for minor league teams in the US until next June when the short season leagues commence, so Beras essentially loses less than a month of playing time.
This is a good signing for Ranger fans, as there is no question that Beras is a major talent, often likened to Juan Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton. In fact, Jamey Newberg reports that Beras has been wearing number 32 at the Academy. Beras is listed at 6’-5” and 175. At a gathering of fans last month prior to a home game, Rangers’ senior scout Don Welke said about Beras, “What opens your eyes is his power potential. He has a good arm. He’s crude. He needs a lot of game experience, but that bat is special.” At the time of the gathering, the Beras signing was pending, but Welke made no bones about the Rangers’ interest, “We want this guy BADLY.”
There is no question this signing did not set well with many other Major League teams. Texas was already on other teams’ bad list for the success they’ve had signing Latin American players in recent years in an arena that is known for shady practices. There were lots of teams that had scouted Beras and wanted to sign him. It was just a couple of years ago that the Rangers were a ward of the Major League state. The ownership was in bankruptcy and the other Major League teams were funding the Rangers’ operations. Now, the team has been to the World Series the past two seasons, has a great nucleus that presents an extended window of opportunity to seriously contend for the title, and has one of the top five farm systems in baseball to keep the machine going. Obtaining a significant talent such as Beras only stoked the fires of jealousy and envy.
There is also no question that Beras has represented his age incorrectly to teams in the past, and those teams accepted his word and documentation, which is the reason for the suspension. The Rangers did the research to find his true age. Beras’ father was found in Richardson, Texas. He is a former professional player that played in the Dominican Republic when he was in the Angels’ organization. From there, Texas documented when he was in the Dominican and followed the trail to the earlier birth date.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus has already named Beras as one of the Rangers’ top five prospects. That’s saying a lot for a team with one of the best minor league systems in baseball. Last year, Texas signed Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazara out of the Caribbean. They are both outfielders and considered significant offensive talents. Beras is the thought to be the best of the three. None of these three will see the light of day in Arlington for years; but even so, the approval of his signing is a great day for the Rangers.